About two weeks ago Fay and I were on our way to social gathering, and I noticed an old abandoned house situated on about two acres of land. It looked reasonably old as did the couple of outbuildings in back. The next day I tried to look it up on DCAD but because I didn’t have the exact rural address (box number) I was unable to locate the owner. So yesterday I decided to drive out there again, hoping to talk to a neighbor or at least see if come up with the box number.
When I got there I saw a gentlemen on the adjoining property working on his pickup and decided to see if he might be able to tell me more…..the conversation went somewhat like this, and note I have changed the name of the landower for obvious reasons.
“Hi, sorry to bother you, but wondered if you know who owns the property next door?”
He lifted his head out from under the hood, looked me over, stared at the pug bug and said “Whitaker… Clyde Whitaker”
I said “the reason I am asking is that my hobby is metal detecting and I wanted to see if I could get permission to search there”.
He replied “Forget it…he’ll shoot you!”
I said “What?”
“Yep, just the other day a fellow up the road mowed the property because it was so overgrown, and Whitaker told him if he caught him doing it again he was a dead man”.
I was suddenly not liking this guy but he continued on and said “not only that, the old man’s son is a druggie and shows up at night and disappears into the woods outback. Not sure what the hell he does, but he always has a shotgun with him.”
With that I said “Hmm, well thanks for the info, glad I asked” and quickly got in my car. I had to back out of his narrow driveway and as I did I noticed he very quickly got into his pickup truck and began following me. First thing came to mind was the song “Dueling Banjos”, but a couple of miles down the road he took a left turn and I continued on home breathing a sigh of relief.
Guess you can’t win ’em all…
So there folks went my next great site up in smoke or to be more precise, up in buckshot. Welcome to Texas!
UPDATE FROM THE MALAMUTE SALOON
Regular contributor to Stout Standards, Florida archaeologist Lisa MacIntyre, recently suggested that maybe ‘Ole Stouty should do a piece on First Aid for detectorists and I agree with her. It makes sense. However, and there’s a ‘but’ coming, and it’s this; in today’s litigious society such a piece would have to carry a disclaimer, for as sure as eggs is eggs, someone will try a claim damages from Stout Standards should they get bitten on the arse by a rattler when detecting in a pit of vipers!! You follow my drift?
Here in the UK and I guess the same exists in the US, various First Aid courses for treating minor injuries are available, and in the UK, the St John Ambulance Brigade is one such organisation offering Elementary through to Advanced courses. Perhaps the training route is the way to go.
Of course, prevention is better than cure, so it makes a lot of sense to pack a pocket-sized emergency kit such as the one I always carry (cost £1.00/$1.50), which contains;
- 12 Washproof plasters
- 4 Alcohol-free wipes
- 2 Burn/Wound lint pads
- 2 Non-adherent dressings
To which I’ve added a small tube of antiseptic cream. My pocket knife carries a useful pair of tweezers.
Indeed, many US detectorists – unlike their UK counterparts – wear gloves while hunting and it’s a habit I’ve recently adopted, having come across discarded hypodermic needles on parts of the local beaches. Apart from the obvious complications liable from having your fingers punctured by discarded needles, minor cuts and grazes while lifting coins from soil, can if left untreated, develop into full-blown tetanus, a condition fatal in 11% of reported cases. The highest tetanus mortality rates are in unvaccinated people, and people over 60 years of age.
Curiously, at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French accused the English archers of tipping their arrows with poison owing to the number of French post-battle deaths. In fact, what really happened was that the English bowmen planted their arrows point down at their feet, rather than drawing them from a quiver, thus making massed volleys of arrows faster to loose-off into the charging ranks of French knights. The soil from the fields around Agincourt carried the spores of tetanus which infected the wounds when they struck home.
Lastly of course, my gloves.
Jeez….who in their right mind wants to go hunting in 100-degrees anyway? Find a shady pub garden, a comfy seat and sip on a beer of three. But if you really must venture forth, then carry enough water for the length of time you’ll be out there under the burning sun. If you scroll back through Malamute Saloon you’ll come across some advice I found useful when it comes to water.
THIS TOO FROM JOHN…..
THE MOLES AMONGST US
The Daily Telegraph’s Wednesday 14th May’s edition carried this small news item tucked away on page-14 and makes fools out of those absurd heritologists who scoff at the notion that it’s always clandestine detectorists, not animals, who are damaging protected archaeological sites.
Under the heading (and I quote):-
Moles dig up abbey relics
Archaeologists banned from digging around a protected 11th-century ruin have been given a helping hand by moles.
St Benet’s Abbey in the Norfolk Broads is a scheduled monument of national importance. But the moles are doing the spadework for the Norfolk Archaeological Trust, and its experts are sifting through mole hills to uncover ancient relics.
All of which raises a couple of questions:
- Presumably the NAT has official permission to enter upon the protected site to remove items of archaeological interest dug up by the moles and is not in contravention of the Archaeological Areas
& Ancient Monuments Act 1979?
- That all items of archaeological interest brought to the surface by moles will have little or no contextual evidence and thus be historically worthless.
- Presumably, these mole-found items will be properly recorded, classified, and stored?
- That the Portable Antiquities Scheme will have sight of these records?
I do hope so! After all, what’s good for the metal detecting goose, is also good for the archaeological gander.
I’ll see y’all in the bar!